Engineering student Harriet reflects on the benefits of being awarded the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship and her work placement with Jaguar Land Rover.
How did you get involved with the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship?
I first found out about the Scholarship, by simply being sent a link to the application form by one of the universities I applied to. After looking at the details of the Scholarship, I came to the decision that I would be really interested in being involved with WISE and Jaguar Land Rover’s campaign to get more girls interested in Engineering as a career.
So, I filled out their application form which involved questions around a few topics including: ‘How the UK engineering industry can attract more girls and women in to engineering’ and ‘Why it is important that UK engineering industry needs to attract more girls and women in to the industry.’
I was then lucky enough to be shortlisted and called for interview in October 2013 at Jaguar Land Rover’s headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire. For this interview, I had to prepare a presentation on how I would use ‘National Women in Engineering Day’ to encourage more girls in to Engineering. Once I’d given my presentation, the interview was just over an hour, and there were four women on the interview panel including representatives from Jaguar Land Rover, WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) and WES (Women’s Engineering Society).
I was then informed a week after the interview that I had won the Scholarship, and was presented with the Scholarship at the 2013 WISE Awards at the Science Museum in London (where I also had the privilege of meeting HRH Princess Anne).
How do you think this Scholarship will benefit you?
I am currently 2 years into my scholarship, with a further 2 to go and reflecting back over the past 2 years, I still can’t quite believe how much I have done and how many opportunities I have had to do things that I honestly thought I’d never have the opportunity to do.
As a WISE ambassador I have attended and spoken at many events including: The WISE Student Colloquium, Huddersfield University; Girls in Maths Inspiration event at Framwellgate School Durham; #NEDigitalGirls Event, Newcastle and The Bing Bang Fair in Birmingham. By speaking at events like these I have had the opportunity to improve my confidence and therefore my public speaking and presentation skills. It’s also provided me with great opportunities to meet and network with people within the Engineering community and getting to talk to them and listen to their advice has been invaluable.
I have found the main benefit of this Scholarship (except the financial support) are the Summer Placements at Jaguar Land Rover. Last summer I spent a month with the company and they made sure that the entire month was packed with different things for me to do and by the end of it I had seen pretty much every aspect behind designing a car. From initial designs in the studio to crash tests, I even had a day out to see the PR team at the Extreme Sailing event in Cardiff. Being exposed to all streams of engineering and getting to talk to all the graduates really helped me make decisions about what I want to specialise in later on. And I am heading back there this August too.
This year I have also had the privilege of being a member of the WISE Young Women’s Board, which is a board of 10 women within the Engineering industry under 30, asked to advise on ways of increasing the number of women within the STEM industries. As the only student to be selected for the board the experience has been invaluable and it was thanks to my experiences and skills I’d gained over the first year of the Scholarship, that I was confident enough to know that I was capable of taking on such a role. I have been given media training; met the other incredibly inspiring members who have given me some great advice and was also given the opportunity to once again be part of the WISE Awards.
What are your plans for the future?
Next year, I’ll be entering the third year of my course and I am specialising in Mechanical Engineering with the intention of going into the Automotive Industry when I graduate. I’d ideally like to go and work for a firm such as Jaguar Land Rover, as it’ll provide me with the opportunity to work on the design of many different models of car within their fleet and also I’ve always wanted to work within a company which can provide me the opportunity to travel around the world.
But, for the near future, I plan to continue my work with WISE and continue to visit Schools and other events to try and encourage as many young people as possible to consider Engineering as a career path to follow.
Written by Harriet Vickers, Engineering student.